E: So that’s where we go from here. To friendship. To romance. To forgiveness. To collaboration. That was really, really – well, some of it was a huge relief, and some of it I just don’t know. (Notice that I said romance, and not love.) There were bad wigs, tears (some of mine, some of the characters), drinks, and beautiful acting. And that’s all okay, because Alicia moved forward, which is maybe the most important thing.
First, Diane defends a college student (the daughter of a client) who wrote an unpopular editorial for her college’s newspaper. Other students complained that her defense of Israel made them feel unsafe — the buzz words “safe space” are used repeatedly during the proceedings — and so the university has decided to defund their newspaper. That’s right. The entire newspaper because of one editorial. Preposterous, right? And yet ripped from the headlines. Really, it’s a nice excuse to talk about hypersensitivity and extreme political correctness, and something more like litigating for Diane to do. I’m not sorry to see her wrangling with John Billingsley’s university president, sparring with opposing counsel Martha Reed or charming bearded mediator Geoffrey Solomon. Grace Rex and Richard Masur, it was so nice to see you again, even in a relatively thankless B plot.
Of course, the A plot wasn’t much better, although it did bring the season full circle. While helping out a paying client, Alicia notices that her client from her first days in Bond Court is in Judge Schakosky’s fancy new courtroom because of an overflow downstairs. And to Alicia’s horror, it turns out that this man has been languishing in jail for 5 months because Breakfast set his bail inappropriately high to tax Alicia, and the three lawyers he had after her didn’t protest when the state asked to delay his trial repeatedly while they searched for a witness. It’s wonder why they’re bothering; the guy, Clayton, was arrested along with the three guys who beat him up in a bar fight. (The actor, Daniel J. Watts, hasn’t been on the show before, and his circumstances aren’t exactly those from Bond, but it certainly sounds like something that could have happened, so I’m trying not to be peeved by it.) As a result of all this, he’s lost his job (understandable), his wife has divorced him (unimpressive, though not impossible), and his child is now in state custody (because why, the other two consequences weren’t enough?). Seriously, what’s wrong with his wife?
At any rate, Alicia wants to right her wrong and help him, so she snakes him away from Bernie as a client. But what can she really do? The judge has already set a trial date, and Lucca warns Alicia (unnecessarily) that he’ll never change it. Alicia tries to do an end-run around this by suing the judge for violating her client’s civil rights. Yeah, you know how well that’s going to go over.
And honestly, though it’s clear that Clayton’s rights have been violated, the new judge isn’t biting; judicial immunity is too important to him. In a particularly egregious move, he declares a tape that Jason sweet-talked out of Schakowsky’s court reporter that reveals him taxing attorneys, despite the fact that he wields that power off the record so it’s never in trial transcripts. And with some clear backroom manuevering by Breakfast, Clayton drops Alicia as a lawyer, goes back to the odious red faced Bernie (lawyer number four), and sues Alicia for malpractice. Cary gets called in to help, of course, but even though there’s no legal justification for it, the judge refuses to dismiss the suit, and Bernie and Clayton refuse to settle the suit for less than $1.5 million. Team Quick’s malpractice insurance, in case you’re wondering, covers 350k. It’s this dreadful situation (and the rather mysterious budgetary nightmare with shows the new firm losing nearly 20k a month) that appears to lead Alicia back into the loving arms of her old firm as a junior partner. No more bifurcated living for us! Everyone will be back under one roof, housed neatly within those glass walls.
And, that’s good, I guess. It’s been pretty tortured promoting Alicia’s independence. Will Alicia find it diminishes her to no longer be on her own? No man is an island, Alicia. You’re never free of entanglements.
Speaking of entanglements, lets deal with Alicia’s here, because they’re actually pretty spectacular. First Jason shows up, looking for work, at least two months early. He didn’t like California, he says. Poor Alicia’s completely flustered and sends him away, promising to talk to Lucca about finding him work. She doesn’t. After Lucca finds out about this (she and Jason meet for drinks), she calls Alicia on it. Sounding jealous of this rendez-vous, Alicia demands an explanation (“we’re friends”) and leaves the room and then of all things starts doing laundry; yes, this is completely weird, but that’s what Alicia does to de-stress. She cleans. I wish cleaning did that for me.
Anyway. Because she still remembers how to use a door (as sometimes characters on television shows seem unable to do) Lucca follows Alicia and calls her on this ridiculous behavior. And this leads to a breakdown that’s been years in coming.
I was in love, she confesses, and he died. What’s my life now, Alicia wonders. The walls of the apartment are closing in on her. What’s it all for? Was it just about raising two kids to be important people, to the point that I don’t even know if I like them anymore? (This seems horribly unfair to poor Grace. Granted that the girl has learned more than a few shady tricks working for her mother, she’s still a great kid. I can see about Zach a little more.) She just wants to hide in her room and wait for it all to be over. I was loved, she wails, beating her breastbone, and it’s over.
Her head tilted, her lips tight with sympathy, Lucca walks forward and wraps her arms around Alicia. I have no friends, she says, but I want to be your friend. (Let’s ignore the whole “Jason’s my friend” bit from two minutes ago.) I can’t give you anything else, but I can give you that. All you have to do is say you want it. She makes Alicia laugh through her tears by actually forcing her to say that she wants to be friends; she makes her laugh again when she asks if Alicia has any guns in the house. Good for you. She did sound suicidal.
I sobbed like a baby through this exchange, and I admit, I was pretty thrilled to hear Alicia let out all of her frustration and misery and confusion and pent up loss. She needed that so badly. And as a fan, I needed to see her feel again. I needed it.
Perhaps because she’s managed to have this emotional catharsis, she’s ready for Jason the next time he shows up — ready to give him work, and also to apologize for being so thrown before. He steps close to her in the hallway, and gives what might be his longest speech of the season, peppered with pregnant pauses. “Here’s the thing, Alicia. Whenever you worry about what I might be thinking, or you worry that I’m upset about what your thinking, just know that I’m fine. Even when I’m not fine, I’m really fine.” That’s possibly the most “guy in a relationship” statement I’ve ever heard. Seriously, what does that even mean? Let me overthink this like the girl that I am. Does it mean “I really don’t care enough about you to get upset by your behavior”? Or “I’m too much of a guy to even notice that you’re being confusing”? Or perhaps “I want you so badly I don’t care how you treat me”? It cracks me up. That is not, however, the reaction it provokes in Alicia, who walks back into her apartment, then chases him down in the elevator, grabs the back of his neck and kisses him; he wraps himself around her, kissing her back.
And it’s — well. Passionate, but not messy, not hurried. Like sinking into warm water. It’s easy, melting into each other.
She pulls back. Is he still fine, she whispers into his mouth. He is, he affirms. So she slips out of his arms and off the elevator, her face alive with wonder.
Which, that was a great kiss, but if you want to date, will you please just get a divorce first? What are you possibly waiting for, Alicia?
Then we’ve got Eli. Alicia stops by his old/new office, and demands he tell her exactly what Will’s voice mail said. Despite insisting that he doesn’t have perfect recall after 6 years, he gives her quite an impressive recounting of Will’s words, and so she realizes that Will thought she had gotten the message but was taking him up on his offer to pretend it didn’t happen because she didn’t feel the same way.
Later, Eli shows up at door 903. I didn’t stop you and Will from getting together, he points out reasonably. He wasn’t the one that derailed that epic train (if that’s what it was); Alicia did that herself. And either way, it wouldn’t have stopped Will from dying, or make Eli responsible for his fate. He pleads passionately for justice; he never says he’s sorry, and he never means it, but he’s never regretted anything more in his life.
And that’s when she says the words; Eli, I forgive you.
He can’t believe it. He startles. His eyes fill with tears. She smiles warmly, and leaves him in the hall, where he wipes his eyes and shakes his head and goes back to his life.
Yep, so that got me.
Finally, Lucca deliberately leaves the last meeting of the day before Jason so that he and Alicia can have some private time. He confesses that Diane has offered to hire him, but he’s unsure how that would leave things with them. Do what’s best for you, she says. I can’t always tell what that is, he confesses. It usually involves seeing which number is higher, Alicia smirks, missing the point. Perhaps missing the point on purpose? Is she fishing for compliments? Does she really believe that? In answer, he swoops in and takes up their kiss just where it left off, unhurried, shutting out the world.
Shutting it off, at least, until Cary calls to drag Alicia out to a bar so he can woo her again, and talk about LAL covering her malpractice fees if (when) she accepts their latest job offer. Dipple’s people like you a lot more now that Peter’s lost, he laughs. (Ironically, when Bernie delivered his insane settlement request, he insisted that it was animus against Peter which helped motivate the judiciary against her. If only there was a way for her to stop taking knocks for Peter’s actions…)
Is it a good thing for her to go back? Can she find herself with other people, in a way that she wasn’t able to alone? Was her being alone just a stupid trick to allow Peter’s unsatisfying campaign? Not that I don’t appreciate the new characters, or Schakowsky as the season’s antagonist, but please. It all feels arbitrary rather than well plotted and organic. Like the season, the case was a bit tortured, but I like that it at least tried to wrap up the seasonal arc in a reasonable way, touching on it’s beginnings.
And finally, let me say it again. Just get the damn divorce. Don’t do it for Jason, Alicia. Do it for you. Do it because you need to move on.